SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — As we get older it is not uncommon to sometimes imagine that when we were young we failed to appreciate that special time in our lives. Thus, we project that in our youth we often sought to be older, anticipating all of the privileges and rewards that we believed would come with the advent of this age or that. Some adults attest to the adage that “Youth is wasted on the young.” But from the standpoint of this writer/photographer, who spends the lion’s share of his life chasing after teens in their athletic pursuits, I heartily disagree.
This week’s narrative focuses on the ongoing aspirations of teams and individual athletes still in pursuit of postseason glory, along with mention of teams that are no longer in the hunt. Their days are anything but sundered. Rather, I find their efforts have purpose, focus, and though they may not realize it now, will yield great long-term rewards, whether they find that golden medal or trophy at the end of the rainbow or not.
In football this week, Liberty put forth a gritty effort in a 30-14 loss to undefeated Millbrook (See www.sportsinsightsny  story entitled “Eyes on the Prize.”) Last year, Liberty ousted Millbrook 35-18 the semifinals before losing to O’Neill 35-14 in the title game, so for the Blazers this was indeed a grudge match. By dint of this week’s tough defeat, Liberty, which stunned Sullivan West last week, will be the number-two seed out of Division II and will face Division One champion John S. Burke Catholic in the semifinals on November 2. Oddly, Burke will be Liberty’s final season opponent the week prior, down in the Eagles’ aerie. Liberty had its chances to beat powerful Millbrook but got off to a slow start, giving up huge TD runs to the Blazers, which put the Indians in a 22-0 hole by halftime. Liberty quarterback Quinn Jackson threw a 43-yard TD pass to Shakree Gibson. That and a two-yard TD run by Jericho Male were the only scores the Indians could muster, though they were knocking at the door often. The Indians came away knowing they could play with Millbrook should the teams meet in the title game, but it is Burke who has to be the focus first. Millbrook will play O’Neill in its semifinal.
The Blazers edged O’Neill 28-21 in a battle of the unbeaten a week ago. In other local football action, Monticello got its first win of the year, defeating Saugerties 28-7. The Monties are 1-5, (1-3 Class A). Roscoe/Livingston Manor/Downsville downed Onteora 38-7 to improve to 3-3, while Eldred was pummeled 66-0 by mighty Chester, which will be a walkover to win Section Nine Class D. Sullivan West (1-4) fell to Class B Highland 27-13. The Westies will have their homecoming game vs. O’Neill this coming Saturday. Winless Tri-Valley lost to Section One’s Albertus Magnus 44-8. T-V will travel to Liberty’s homecoming on October 18.
In boys soccer, Liberty lost its Division IV lead with a 2-1 loss to O’Neill. The Indians are now 7-4 (3-2 OCIAA). Fallsburg defeated winless Sullivan West 6-0 and then beat Burke 3-0 to improve to 7-4 (3-2 OCIAA). Both Liberty and Fallsburg are on target for sectional contention. Though the Westies haven’t won a game, they’ve gotten great effort from some of their players. The team is playing with virtually no subs, and it’s been trying, to say the least. A 1-0 loss to Liberty was the Bulldogs’ most valiant effort of the season. Tri-Valley got four goals from Zack Nielsen to defeat Family School 4-1. Later, the Bears (5-8-1) lost a 1-0 league match to Tuxedo. In girls soccer, Sullivan West defeated Fallsburg 2-0 with goals from Erin Sumfleth and Jasmina Mujanovic. Fallsburg won the first match between the two struggling teams but has lost seven straight since then. Neither team will be in sectionals. Livingston Manor 7-5 (3-0 OCIAA) took over the lead in Division V with a 2-1 win over Eldred 6-5-1 (2-1 OCIAA). In volleyball Monticello lost to Minisink Valley and Goshen but has qualified for sectionals. The Monties are 10-7 overall but just 1-6 in league play. In cross-country, Sullivan West’s boys and girls prevailed at a home meet featuring Eldred, Monticello and Livingston Manor. Monties Joe Klein (17:52) and Sydney Johnson (20:51) were the individual race winners. The division championships were held on October 15. Next week is the OCIAA meet at Bear Mountain. More on the harriers next week. For albums of photos visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com .